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Honora Gabriel
  •  January 25

Advice for New Patient Services Leaders

Patient services leaders are under more pressure than ever to deliver the best patient journey experience possible.
Advice for New Patient Services Leaders

In today’s pharmaceutical landscape, patient support services are critical to the success of most specialty products. Manufacturers are dedicating larger and larger budgets to the practice of eliminating access barriers and wrapping high-touch services around patients and prescribers.

For patient services leaders, that often equates to greater expectations and pressure to deliver the best patient journey experience possible. For individuals new to their role – following a promotion or joining a new company – it can be challenging to know where to focus, how to best align resources, and when and where to ask for help.

We’ve been working with one of our clients, who is head of patient services at a large pharmaceutical company, since she hired us when she was struggling to gain traction in her new role. I recently sat down with her to ask what she knows now that she wishes she knew when she started in her role. I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did!

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were appointed head of patient services?


I wish I had better understood what needed to be done to implement my strategic initiatives. Coming into this position, I knew the pharma company and brand, and I was very focused on delivering a patient support solution that would impress my new team. I didn’t realize how complex it would be for my vendors to implement the solution. We needed a detailed project plan across all vendors to guide the execution of our plan. Until I started working with you, I couldn’t keep all the pieces moving in the right direction.

Honora Gabriel:

I get it – managing the vendors to complete an end-to-end impact assessment, documenting all changes, and approving the plan are essential project phases, but pulling that together can feel overwhelming. Things began running much smoother when Archbow’s project management group created the detailed project plan and then managed the vendors against the plan, providing you with a weekly status report, risk management assessment, and deliverables we needed to complete.


I wish I had known what data I needed to focus on to evaluate the patient and HCP experience. I was receiving SLA and KPI data regarding things like program phone status, benefits investigation turnaround times, and shipment data. What I didn’t realize was that I needed to be looking within the patient experience journey to identify data points that would meaningfully impact strategies and tactics. The workshop you led us through to confirm the patient journey, understand what the vendors can report on, and then outline what we could and couldn’t get to completely changed my perspective.

Honora Gabriel:

Data, and what in the world to do with it, can be one of the most overwhelming decisions patient services teams make. There’s so much data available now, and it can be tempting to want it all. But, in my experience, less can be more when it comes to data. When you ask the right questions, you can typically uncover which data will give you the answers you need to best manage your program.


I wish I had known from the beginning where my patient support HUB was performing well and how we could improve. If the work we did with you had been completed BEFORE we started making program changes, just about everything would have been different. Next time, I’ll know to begin with the end in mind and ask a totally different set of questions during launch planning.

Honora Gabriel:

There are some relatively easy, proven steps to managing program performance right out of the gate. We typically advise clients to, at a minimum:

  • Assess the marketplace to understand what support offerings are available for analog products
  • Conduct market research to truly understand what is used by patients, caregivers, and HCPs
  • Evaluate the program processes and procedures by conducting a SWOT
  • Review a report that takes all of this information and translates it to a recommended action plan

At Archbow, we have the privilege of working with seasoned veterans, those new to their roles, and even seasoned veterans who have accepted a challenging new position. Being consultants, we’re able to customize the level of support we provide to meet the unique needs of the individuals we serve. We’re also able to apply learnings from other projects to give teams the advantage of knowing what they should know now instead of later. If we can help build or optimize your patient support program, contact us today to get started.

Archbow Consulting helps pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the USA and Europe design, build, and optimize product distribution and patient access strategies. Archbow was founded by industry veterans to meet a need in the marketplace for consulting options that offer diverse real-world experience, are able to leverage deep connections across the industry, and can also provide actionable strategic guidance. We invite you to learn more about our team, services, and clients’ success, and connect with us via email, LinkedIn or subscribing to this blog which you can do below.

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